Sunday, 26 January 2014

A New Gumbo

Hello all,

Well, I know it's been a long time since we've been in touch. Things on the Gumbo Press front have been a little quiet since Word Gumbo went on hiatus. We have, of course, published two excellent flash-fiction pamphlets (Enough by Valerie O'Riordan and Threshold by David Hartley) which you should check out.

But with the start of 2014, we have decided to get back into the race, and as such we are launching a new e-magazine, Flash Gumbo, focussing entirely on flash-fiction, which like our previous e-zine will be published bi-monthly-ish. As such we are hungry for your submissions. So, send us your wonderful flash-fictions, 500 words or fewer, and let's broadcast them to the world. Full submission guidelines are up at

We are also, in a new venture, looking for flash-fiction collections to publish as, you know, actual books! These should be in the 20-40,000 word range and can be in any genre you wish, as long as it is a coherent collection of flash-fictions. Full submission guidelines for that are at

Please submit, share these links, encourage your friends to send us their work, and generally get the word out there. We want this to be a huge success!

Calum Kerr, Managing Editor

And, if you are wondering what kind of thing we like, and just because we love to share, here is a flash-fiction from Angi Holden which we published in the first issue of Word Gumbo, back in June 2011.

I Can Tell You How It Began
Angi Holden

I’m not sure how it all ended, but I can tell you how it began. I wish I could say it was something romantic, like we locked eyes across a crowded room, or something like that. Or even that we met through an online dating agency. At least that would have the virtue of being modern and a bit quirky. But it wasn’t. It was ordinary and practical and rather banal.
Our fingertips met around a one-litre carton of semi-skimmed. The last one-litre carton of semi-skimmed. The last any-litre carton of milk in our local Spar, skimmed or otherwise, to be precise. We were both living in Hightown at the time. I was in my final year and sharing a student house with a couple of other girls; she had a studio flat in a block for ‘young professionals’ around the corner. We agreed to go back to her place; she’d decant some of the milk into a jug, and I’d take the rest of the carton home.
Only that wasn’t what happened. She made coffee and found a packet of Bourbon between the Demerara and the Golden Granulated, and I stayed. I was easy to impress back them. An unopened packet of biscuits had enough rarity value for someone living in a student household, but showing me a cupboard containing three types of sugar, Earl Grey and Balsamic vinegar was like giving me a glimpse of the forbidden city.
It was three days before I went back to the house for a change of knickers and to collect a library book that needed renewing. The book was important; I couldn’t afford to start racking up fines. The knickers were kind of irrelevant, at least until we ran out of fresh bread and needed to go shopping.
I suppose I ought to tell you that I wasn’t in the habit of being picked up by random women in corner shops. In fact, I was a virgin. She had a go at me once about being ‘closet’, but it’s a bit of a non-event, coming-out, when you’ve never been ‘in’ in the first place. And it’s a bit sad if you’re not ‘out’ with anyone. Anyway, I’m not the confessional type. Well, I wasn’t back then.
I’m not sure how it ended. Did I say that before? Sorry. When you live with someone who doesn’t listen to what you say, you tend to repeat yourself a bit. Well, a lot really. She said I nagged, and I suppose I did. I’d graduated (not as well as I’d hoped) and we’d got this flat together. It’s a lovely place, bigger with this separate bedroom, but lonely when she didn’t come back some nights. The shagging petered out too; sometimes we didn’t have sex for weeks and to tell you the truth that suited me. Though a cuddle would have been nice.
Anyway, I can’t afford the rent on my own, so I’m moving out. So, do you think it’ll suit you?